Kurdish commander: European jihadists plan new attacks

2:10 min

European jihadists are the most ruthless fighters within the terrorist group the Islamic State and they have formed special units that focus on carrying out terrorist attacks in Europe, says the commander-in-chief of the female Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

"European jihadist who join IS become key figures in the organisation. They become professional terrorists," says Nasrin Abdullah, who is visiting Sweden this week. "A majority of the suicide bombers and decapitators that we see have been selected from the European recruits."

Abdullah heads the YPJ, the Kurdish Women's Protection Units in northern Syria.

Recently, the Kurds have made significant advances in the region, and have managed to reclaim large areas of land from the Islamic State, also known as IS. 

But they have paid a high price. Abdullah has lost more than 500 soldiers in the fight against IS over the past two years, and she says IS has far-reaching plans to carry out further attacks in Europe.

"IS has formed special units to attack Europe. To a large degree those units are made up of jihadist who have joined from Europe," Abdullah tells Radio Sweden.

The militant terror group still controls an 80-kilometere thoroughfare along the Turkish border. It is used both by people who join IS in Syria and by people who are trained by IS and then return to Europe.

During her visit here in Sweden, Abdullah is meeting with politicians and government representatives.

Sweden assists Kurdish forces in northern Iraq - for instance, with intelligence and military expertise. Abdullah hopes the Scandinavian nation will extend similar assistance to the Kurdish forces in northern Syria - and she's feeling optimistic.

"IS is the common enemy of the Kurdish and Swedish people. We can have a good collaboration with Sweden when it comes to fighting terrorism and I am feeling hopeful," says Abdullah.